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Thomas P. Palladino

Executive Director

Thomas Palladino was selected as the Executive Director of the Texas Veterans Commission on October 1, 2010.  In this position he is responsible for directing the overall administration of the agency and provides leadership for all stakeholders within the State of Texas to accomplish its mission which is to advocate for and provide superior service to veterans that will significantly improve the quality of life for all Texas Veterans, their Families, and their survivors. Tom Palladino is the current President of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs.

He retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Army in September 2009 after 27 years of service (1982-2009). During this time Tom Palladino served in both the active U.S. Army and the Texas Army National Guard as an Active Guard Reserve officer.

As an Armored Cavalry Officer during the Cold War, he served in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (Blackhorse) and patrolled the East-West Germany border in the Fulda Gap. He also served as an Armored Cavalry Troop Commander in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Brave Rifles) at Ft. Bliss, Texas.

In the Texas Army National Guard, Tom Palladino served under the Adjutant General where he provided needed support and assistance to Texas National Guard Soldiers, Airmen, and military family members. He coordinated a state-wide collaborative partnership among all federal, state, and local organizations to enhance benefits and services for all military veterans and their families in the State of Texas.

He also served as an Associate Professor of Military Science (Army ROTC) at the University of Texas at Austin and an Associate Professor in Government at Austin Community College. As a Texas Public School Social Studies teacher, he taught High School and Middle School students in the Austin and Pflugerville Independent School Districts.

Tom Palladino’s education includes a BA in Political Science from Providence College and a MA in Political Science from Southwest Texas State University, Texas. Additionally, he possesses a Texas Secondary Education Teaching Certificate and Texas Public School Principal’s Certification.

His father, Victor, was a World War II Army Veteran who served in the Italian Campaign with the 5th US Army and both grandfathers were World War I Army Veterans who served with the 26th Infantry Division in France.


Shawn Deabay

Deputy Executive Director

Shawn Deabay was selected as the Deputy Executive for the Texas Veterans Commission in June 2019. In this position, he assists with the overall strategic vision and administration of the agency. He also develops policies, procedures, and guidelines establishing priorities to meet agency goals. Shawn oversees Communications & Outreach to include the Women Veteran’s Program, Government Relations, and Information Resources.

He has been serving veterans for the Great State of Texas with both the Texas Workforce Commission and the Texas Veterans Commission for over 20 years. Shawn began his career with the Texas Workforce Commission as a Veterans Career Advisor in East Texas May 15, 2000 and a Veterans Employer Liaison in 2003. He has held multiple positions serving veterans over the past 20 years to include the Veterans Employment Services Director and Division Director for Program Operations for the Texas Veterans Commission. He received a National Employment Services Award from the Disabled American Veterans for his service to disabled veterans as well as receiving State Employment Awards from the Disabled American Veterans and American Legion.

Shawn earned his Bachelor of Science in Management from Park University. He served with the Maine National Guard from 1990 to 1992 and is a veteran of the United States Army from 1992 to 1998 before being medically discharged.

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John Goodell

General Counsel

Prior to joining the Texas Veterans Commission as General Counsel, John Goodell served 14 years as an active duty Army Judge Advocate. He began his career practicing administrative law and serving as a military prosecutor and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. John then deployed to Afghanistan as a legal advisor to a Joint Special Operations Task Force, earning the Combat Action Badge and Bronze Star.

After subsequently working on nuclear nonproliferation legal issues in Korea, John became the Chief of the Fort Hood Client Services Office, the largest legal assistance program in DoD. In that role, he also established Fort Hood’s Special Victim Counsel Program, providing legal representation to victims of sexual harassment and assault. He was then selected to teach veterans benefits, tax and estate planning at The Judge Advocate General’s School. In his final active duty role, John served as the first General Counsel for the Artificial Intelligence Task Force at Army Futures Command.

John continues to serve in the Army Reserve. He graduated from Vanderbilt University (B.A.), the University of Wisconsin Law School (J.D.), Georgetown University (National Security Law LL.M.), and The Judge Advocate General’s School (Administrative and Civil Law LL.M.). John is also a graduate of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.


Elaine M. Zavala

Communications & Veteran Outreach Director

Elaine Zavala is the Communications and Veteran Outreach Director at the Texas Veterans Commission with responsibility for the Women Veterans Program. Elaine oversees the overall communications strategy of the agency, creating campaigns to spearhead public relations efforts and utilizing social media tools to maximize brand exposure.

Governor Greg Abbott appointed Ms. Zavala to the State Employee Charitable Campaign Advisory Committee with a term ending 2021. The committee advises the comptroller and the state policy committee in adopting rules and establishing procedures for the campaign.

Elaine is a member of the Texas State Set-Aside Committee for the Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program. The committee allocates federal funds for food and shelter. She also serves as President of the American Society of Public Administration’s Central Texas Chapter. The chapter is dedicated to advancing the teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

Ms. Zavala is a member of the State Agency Council, which provides support to the Governor’s Commission for Women and offers professional development training to its members. She also serves as a board member of the Young Catholic Professionals Austin Chapter, which connects young professionals in their 20’s and 30’s to grow in their Catholic faith. Elaine earned a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Public Administration from Texas State University.


Dr. Krystle Matthews

Women Veterans Program Director

Dr. Krystle Matthews, U.S. Army veteran, is the Women Veterans Program Director at Texas Veterans Commission.  Dr. Matthews educates women veterans on the benefits and services they earned through their military service; assist women veterans with accessing those benefits and services; and collaborates with federal, state, and local partners to provide existing services and create new services to meet unmet needs.  Previously, Dr. Matthews worked in Veterans Employment Services where she served as a Veterans Career Advisor, District Outreach Coordinator, and State Women Veterans Employment Coordinator.

As a Veterans Career Advisor, Dr. Matthews worked one-on-one with veterans to help them overcome barriers to obtaining suitable and long-term employment.  As the Gulf Coast District Outreach Coordinator, Dr. Matthews provided support services to internal staff and external partners.  She created and cultivated relationships that essentially provided wraparound services for veterans seeking employment as well as other assistance (i.e., clothing, financial, housing, etc.).  As the State Women Veterans Employment Coordinator, Dr. Matthews advocated on behalf of women veterans in employment and training opportunities.  She worked to educate employers on the benefits of hiring women veterans to fill open positions as well as the benefits available to employers for hiring Texas veterans.  She also educated women veterans on the benefits and services available to them through employer programs.

Dr. Matthews holds a bachelor’s degree in Technical Management, a master’s degree in Human Resource Development, and a doctorate in Education.  She is active in several veteran service organizations and empowers college students to lead and succeed by serving as an advisor for a nationally recognized leadership honor society.  She recently received the Outstanding Women in Texas Government Community Involvement Award.  When Dr. Matthews has free time, she spends it with her family and volunteering in local communities.  She is very passionate about helping others and advocating on behalf of veterans.


Information Resources Director
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James Crabtree

Government Relations Director

James Crabtree leads the Government Relations Section at the Texas Veterans Commission and serves as the agency’s primary point of contact for lawmakers, their staff, and external stakeholders, such as the Office of the Governor and the Legislative Budget Board. He also leads the development of the agency’s strategic plan and legislative appropriations request.

Crabtree is a United States Marine who completed basic training in 1997. He served for three years as an 81 mm mortarman and was commissioned in 2000 after graduating from OCS and the University of Texas. He deployed to Al-Anbar, Iraq in 2004-2005 with a Marine infantry battalion. He now serves in the Marine Corps Reserve and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 2019. He is a graduate of the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Warfare School and the Command and Staff College.

Prior to joining the Texas Veterans Commission, Crabtree was the director of the Veteran Affairs & Border Security Committee in the Texas Senate from 2016 to 2021. Before that he worked for 12 years in a variety of roles with the Texas Veterans Land Board. Crabtree is married and he and his wife Meredith (whom he met as a pen-pal while deployed to Iraq) reside in the Liberty Hill, Texas area and have four children and a rescue lab. His hobbies and interests consist of baseball, politics, history, reading, running, and the Indianapolis 500.


Division of Resource Management


Chip Osborne

Resource Management Director

Charlie C. Osborne, Jr. (Chip) is the Director of Resource Management at the Texas Veterans Commission with responsibility for Human Resources, Financial Management, Training & Event Management, Fund for Veterans’ Assistance, Veterans Mental Health, and Veterans Entrepreneur Program.

He retired as a Colonel from the U.S. Army in September 2012 after 25 years of service (1987-2012). During this time, Chip served in both the active U.S. Army, Tennessee, and the Texas Army National Guard as an Active Guard Reserve officer.

In the Texas Army National Guard, he served under the Adjutant General as the Comptroller at the United States Property & Fiscal Office. He also served with the 36th Infantry Division as the G8 (Comptroller), where he provided financial management and assistance to Texas National Guard Soldiers. In addition, he deployed with the 36th Infantry Division to Basra, Iraq, USD-South from 2010 – 2011 for Operation New Dawn.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Human Services from Carson-Newman University, Jefferson City, Tennessee, and a Master of Science in Human Resources and Development from National-Louis University, Chicago, Illinois.

Chip is also the partner/owner for Slab BBQ & Beer with two restaurants in Austin and they recently, added a third location in Cedar Park. Chip is a life member of the American Legion Kerlin-Lyerly #154, National Guard Association of Texas, and National Guard Bureau Association.

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Tim Shatto

Emergency Management Coordinator

Tim Shatto serves as the Emergency Management Program Coordinator for the Texas Veterans Commission.

Tim was born and raised in Missouri and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1981. He retired from the Marine Corps in October of 2010 after 29 years of honorable and faithful service at the rank of Sergeant Major. Original assigned as a Field Communications Operator, his career includes tours as a Drill Instructor at Parris Island SC and San Diego CA. His career has stretched from both coasts of the United States, Okinawa Japan, and numerous combat tours in the Middle East. In 2004 he was selected as one of 17 members of the Armed Forces to serve as a Mentor for the Presidential Classroom in Washington D.C. His expeditionary tours include Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Peacekeeper during the Los Angels Riots, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Humanitarian Relief in Indonesia and the Philippines, and Operation Enduring Freedom. His awards include; the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon.

After his retirement from the Marine Corps he began working for the Texas Veterans Commission in Wichita Falls TX in December 2010. During his time with the Texas Veterans Commission he has served as a Local Veterans Employment Representative, Veterans Employer Liaison-Public Entity, Operations Manager Veterans Employment Services, Director of Veterans Employment Services, and is currently the Emergency Management Program Coordinator.

He earned his Master of Arts Degree in Human Resource Management from Wayland Baptist University. He currently resides in Bastrop TX and is the proud father of two daughters, Faith and Hope Shatto.


Tina Marberry

Human Resources & Training Department Director

Tina Marberry is the Director of the Human Resources and Training and Event Management Department for Texas Veterans Commission. She served in the United States Army as a Human Resource Specialist for 23 years and retired on August 31, 2015 as a Master Sergeant. During her service she deployed twice to combat areas and received the Bronze Star Medal and Legion of Merit. Tina finished her military career as a Department of the Army Inspector General.

Tina joined Texas Veterans Commission on July 1, 2015 as the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director. After two years in the position she was appointed as the Operations Manager for the Veterans Education Department where she provided overall program management, direction and supervision of the State Approving Agency (SAA) and Hazlewood Department. After two years in the position, Tina transitioned to become the Director of Human Resources and Training and Event Management Department on October 1, 2020.

Tina received her Bachelor of Science in Business Management in February 2014 and is a member of Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM-CP).

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Dianne Coy

Human Resources Manager

Dianne Coy is the Operations Manager for the Human Resources Department. She has worked for the State of Texas since September 1, 1990.  She began her career as a Secretary for the Texas Department of Commerce, then transitioned to the Texas Workforce Commission as an Administrative Assistant on March 1, 1996.  She transferred to Texas Veterans Commission on January 9, 2006, started her employment with TVC in the Veterans Employment Services Department as an Administrative Assistant and was then promoted to a Human Resources Specialist in the Human Resources Department on June 1, 2006.

She has been married to her husband Matthew over 29 years and lives in Bastrop, Texas.  She spends her free time with family and friends.


Tycin Thompson

Training Department Manager

Tycin Thompson is the Manager of Training and Event Management. He retired from the US Army (Texas National Guard) in 2018 after serving 21 years of service and served as a Motor Transport Operator and a driving instructor.

Tycin joined the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) in November 2013 during his time at TVC, he served veterans as a Veterans Career Advisor, and Veterans Employer Liaison until 2016. He joined the Training and Event Management team as a training specialist and then in May 2018 was promoted to Manager of Training and Event Management. Tycin is a member of the Association of Talent Development (ATD). He is an ATD Master Trainer and Master Instructional Designer certificate.  Tycin is a multi-talented instructional designer with more than five years of experience designing and developing training for TVC staff and Veterans County Service Officer (VCSO) throughout the great state of Texas. He is fluent in many delivery models, including blended solutions, instructor-led training, eLearning, Web-based Training (WBT), user guides, OJT, job aids, and case studies. As the manager of Training and Event Management, he will ensure that all TVC Staff and VCSOs receive the best training to serve the Veterans of the great state of Texas.

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Michelle Nall

Chief Financial Officer

Michelle Nall has been in state government since March of 1999. She started as an Accounting Clerk with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). Within the OAG, she moved on to be a Grants Accountant, and then spent the last 10 years with the OAG as a Budget Analyst. She then transferred over to the Texas Department of Emergency Management within Department of Public Safety for a year. Then in August 2011, she transferred over to the Texas Veterans Commission as a Budget Manager. In June 2015 Michelle Nall was promoted as TVC’s Chief Financial Officer.

Michelle received her Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Le Tourneau University, Longview, Texas. She enjoys running and spending every free moment with family and friends. Michelle and her husband, Harold, reside in Austin, Texas, and they have one daughter, Natalie.


Doug Rozunick

Financial Operations Manager

Doug Rozunick is the Manager of Financial Operations.  He began work with the State of Texas as a General Ledger Accountant with the Office of the Governor before coming to Texas Veterans Commission where he has worked for the last 10 years as a Budget Analyst, Accountant and now as the Manager of the Finance Department.  He started school at Incarnate Word University in San Antonio and then transferred to the University of Fairbanks Alaska where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.  He also holds a Bachelor in Business Administration in Accounting from St. Edward’s University.



Dr. Blake Harris

Veterans Mental Health Department Director

Dr. Blake Harris is a licensed clinical forensic psychologist and the Director of the Veterans Mental Health Department (VMHD) for the Texas Veterans Commission. In this position he is responsible for the VMHD as it strives to connect service members, veterans, and their families (SMVF) with local, competent, and relevant mental health resources. VMHD meets this charge by providing trainings on mental health topics relevant to the SMVF, by providing certification standards and guidance to the Military Veteran Peer Network, by advocating for justice-involved veterans across Texas, and by coordinating with other agencies and community partners.

Prior to joining TVC, Dr. Harris has been responsible for program development and implementation in both secured-residential and community-based settings while providing oversight and leadership to diverse professional teams including clinicians, case managers, program coordinators, family partners, and direct care staff. Additionally, he has participated in mental health specialty courts and provided training and clinical supervision to predoctoral interns and postdoctoral clinicians. He has also worked with adults, adolescents, and families of underserved populations in various residential and outpatient settings and instructed graduate courses in forensic mental health risk assessment. He obtained his PhD in Clinical Forensic Psychology from Alliant International University and his Master of Arts in Psychology from Stephen F. Austin State University. Dr. Harris is a proud Texan and is grateful for the opportunity the serve the SMVF across the Lone Star State.

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James Bracken

Fund for Veterans’ Assistance Director

Jim Bracken is the Director of the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance (FVA) Department. He retired from the US Marine Corps in 2013 and served in various USMC operating forces (Fleet Marine Force), training and education commands, joint and coalition forces, and with foreign militaries. He was stationed overseas in Southeast Asia for 2 years and completed 4 combat deployments (2 x Operation Iraqi Freedom and 2 x Operation Enduring Freedom – AFG). He served in command, operations and plans positions, instructor assignments, and as a foreign military advisor. Jim is a graduate of Joint Forces Staff College, USMC Command and Staff, Army Infantry Officer Advanced Course, and USMC Amphibious Warfare School.

Jim also serves the veteran community as an active member of Greater Austin Area’s Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). Known as the “Texas Capital Chapter”, MOPH Chapter 1919 is the 2nd largest chapter in Texas (with over 580 combat wounded veteran members), and the 7th largest in the United States. He joined the TVC family in August 2019 and brings several years of senior management experience with Texas state agencies and non-profit organizations.

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Michael (Mike) Bardis

Fund for Veterans’ Assistance Operations Manager

Mike Bardis is the Operations Manager of the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance (FVA) Department. He joined TVC in December of 2019 and brings a wealth of funds oversight and management experience. Prior to TVC he held the position of Joint Operations Resource Manager as a senior Budget Officer and DoD employee within the Texas Military Department. Where he spent 8 years managing operations, logistics, training and aviation funds in various positions.

He deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and participated in multiple OCONUS combined-joint exercises in support of United States Army Europe and NATO partners. During his time with the Texas National Guard he has supported Texans in need during multiple Defense Support of Civil Authorities operations to include floods, hurricanes and COVID-19. Currently he serves in the Texas Army National Guard as a First Sergeant and takes great pride in his service to Texas and Texans. He is honored to directly support Texas veterans through the FVA, and the opportunity it provides to continue his service.

Megan Tamez

Veterans Entrepreneur Program Director

Megan Tamez is the Director for the Veterans Entrepreneur Program (VEP). She joined the Texas Veterans Commission in 2014 as a Veterans Service Officer for the Claims Department. She moved to the HCAD (then HCAP) as a Health Care Advocate in 2017 and assumed her current role in 2020. She earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration Health Care Management from Columbia Southern University.

Megan has a servant’s heart and loves helping fellow veterans and co-workers. Megan has volunteered as a mentor for the Veterans Treatment Court in El Paso, TX, from 2015-2018 with Judge Angie Juarez Barill and mentor coordinators, Efren Montelongo and Roberto Chavez. Megan also worked closely with Beto O’Rourke’s office to assist veterans in need throughout her tenure in El Paso. Megan received a Gold Presidential Service Award in 2012 for her volunteer service hours with the American Red Cross and the Army’s Family Readiness Group. She continues to serve those in her community.

Megan is a proud Army veteran and military spouse. She served in the Army from 2001 to 2006. She was stationed at Camp Hovey, Korea, on 9/11 and served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005, during the height of the war. Away from the office, you can find her reading or on one of the many Texas rivers or coastlines, spending time with her family, kayaking, tubing, or fishing.


Program Operations Division


Charles Catoe

Program Operations Director

Charles Catoe is the Division Director of Program Operations at the Texas Veterans Commission.  He has been with TVC since October 2014 and held various positions in Veterans Education and the Fund for Veterans’ Assistance.  Mr. Catoe assumed his current role in June of 2019 and he is responsible for the agency’s departments that serve Texas veterans by filing disability claims, assisting with employment or transitioning from the military, approving education and training programs for GI Bill® use, and providing healthcare advocacy at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical facilities.

Mr. Catoe is 27-year Air Force veteran and holds a bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy, two master’s degrees from Air University, and one master’s degree from Embry-Riddle University.  He also holds a graduate certification in Grants Management.  While serving in the Air Force, Colonel Catoe was a Command Pilot with more than 4,200 total flying hours (300 in combat) and held command positions at the squadron and group levels. He has been married to his wife, Georgia, for 34 years and together they raised 3 wonderful children who have in-turn blessed them with 2 grandchildren.


Veterans Education Director

Charles Bryant

Veterans Education Operations Manager

Charles Bryant is the Operations Manager for the Texas Veterans Commission Veterans Education Department.  He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and is retired from the Army.  A veteran of the Iraq war, he has worked for Veterans Education since 2009.  Before becoming the operations manager for Veterans Education, he worked as a program specialist with the State Approving Agency for GI Bill® programs in Texas and was the program supervisor for the Hazelwood Act.

Mr. Bryant resides in Austin with this wife and two children.

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Salvador Castillo

Claims Program Director

Salvador J. Castillo is an U.S. Air Force Veteran. He was assigned to the 43 SFS Squadron in Pope Airfield, Ft. Bragg, NC in support of the 82nd Airborne Division from 1998-2002 as Security Forces Member where he was deployed in 2000 in support of Operation Southern Watch and later deployed in late 2001 as a response to the 9/11 attacks under Operation Noble Eagle later to become Operation Enduring Freedom. In July of 2006-2008, he joined the U.S. Army National Guard.

Salvador J. Castillo after returning to civilian life, was employed with Child Protective Services as an Investigator. In 2010, he was hired as the Assistant Veterans Service Officer for Cameron County and a year later would be appointed to be the Director for the Veterans Service Officer to present. During his time as a Veterans County Service Officer, he was able to duplicate the amount of staff, obtain a new building, secure a TVC grant for supportive services in the amount of $300,000 and increase the productivity of the office without compromising accuracy as claims submitted through my department have a 98% approval rating. In addition, he was instrumental in the development and establishment of the Cameron County Veteran’s Court. Throughout his 10 years as a VCSO, he has been involved in various intergovernmental projects at all levels of government.

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Studies 8 -12 grade from The University of Texas at Brownsville, and later his Master Degree in Public Administration from the University of Texas Pan American.

“It is my passion to empower veterans to be as productive and esteemed in civilian life as they were while service men and women. While oversees I served my country and always felt that I wanted to do more, working with veterans provides me the opportunity to fulfill this desire as I am serving those who have serve and their families.”

I am proud to be a part of the Texas Veterans Commission and Veterans County Service Officers team as we fulfill our mission to advocate for veterans and their families through the attainment of benefits.


Claims Operations Manager
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Anna Baker

Veteran Employment Services Director

Anna Baker is the Director of the Veteran Employment Services Department at the Texas Veterans Commission. She is an Air Force veteran, serving from 1980 – 1984 as a Korean and Spanish linguist. After the service, Anna moved to Germany where she worked as the executive assistant to the program and contract managers of Federal Electric International, at the time, the base maintenance contractor for US Army Facilities in Kaiserslautern. After 5 years, she returned to Texas to pursue her education, receiving a Bachelor’ s degree in Accounting from Schreiner University where she was inducted as a Hatton W. Sumners Scholar. Since 2005 Anna has held a Project Management Professional Certification, and in 2012 she received an MBA from Baylor University.

Before joining the Texas Veterans Commission, she led sales and operations for Dell Inc. and for Tech Data Corporation, where she received various leadership awards and recognition over 17 years. Anna believes in giving back to the community and serves as a volunteer at Dress for Success Austin, empowering women to achieve economic independence. As an entrepreneur, Anna has owned several businesses including real estate and on-line retail. As the manager of the Veteran Entrepreneur Program, she continues her mission of empowerment by educating veterans about resources to help them start and grow their businesses.

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Darlene “Dee” Cote

Veterans Employment Services Operations Manager

Darlene “Dee” Cote is the Operations Manager of Veterans Employment Services (VES) Department. She believes and strives for the Team of Teams approach to maximize operational effectiveness and outcomes.  Dee joined the TVC on January 1, 2017 into the Veterans Education Department and moved into VES in July 2018.

Like her entire core family, including her three younger brothers, Dee is a proud U.S. Army veteran. She served during the Persian Gulf War and was an Army electronics and information technology technician stationed in Sinop Turkey, and at the U.S. Army Intelligence School, Devens (USAISD).  While stationed overseas, she won INSCOM Soldier of the Year two times. After leaving active duty, she worked as a Director of Operations with Baptist Health Care in Pensacola, Florida. She graduated Cum Laude from Husson University in Maine with a B.S in Business Administration and has three associate honors in computer programming and database management from South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia Washington, and Contract Management from George Washington University ESI International Business Program.  As a prior State of Texas purchaser (CTPM) and contract manager (CTCM), Dee worked with the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) purchasing assistive and non-assistive information technology for the blind, visually impaired and deaf and hard of hearing.   In her free time, she cycles, hikes, and walks with her retired seeing eye Labrador Retriever and has completed several fundraising cycle-thons for the benefit of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  With honor, Dee has a passion to lead and serve the veteran community and to work hand in hand with external and internal associates and partners of the Texas Veterans Commission.

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Gary Lee

Health Care Advocacy Department Director

Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Health Care Advocacy Department (HCAD) Director Gary Lee hails from Louisiana and holds a Management degree from Wayland Baptist University.

He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1984, and retired February 2008 after various deployments to Iraq, Japan, Europe, the Mediterranean, and other Far East locations. During his 23.5 years in the United States Marine Corps, he served in various military positions around the United States and overseas, including being a Marine Corps Martial Arts Program Instructor Trainer, and the 3rd Marine Air Wing Inspector General Sergeant Major.

Gary joined the Texas Veterans Commission staff in August 2008 as a Claims Counselor at the Audie L. Murphy VAMC office in San Antonio, TX. After two (2) years, he was promoted to that office’s Supervisor position, working with not only the Veterans of this great state, but also with VA, city, county, and local agencies. In 2012, the San Antonio Bar Association recognized him for his training of new lawyers on Veteran benefits, and for other contributions to their organization. After two (2) years of managing the second most productive Claims offices in the state, he was promoted to the Training Coordinator for the Claims Department. He was responsible for the training, testing, and certification of state (and regularly out-of-state), county, and occasionally federal personnel. One of his many accomplishments was helping the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) institute Texas House Bill 634; he travelled to prisons and taught their reintegration personnel to submit claims on behalf of incarcerated Veterans in advance of their imminent release. This would facilitate benefit receipt sooner upon re-entry to the general populace, and potentially reduce recidivism.

In early 2015, he was asked to help establish the Health Care Advocacy Program (HCAP) for TVC. Utilizing his years of experience, he wrote most of the program’s SOP, and established the personnel’s training curriculum. In April 2018, he was promoted to Manager of the program, the only one of its kind in the country. Gary leads a team of thirteen (13) outstanding individuals throughout the state that help Veterans and their loved ones resolve VA health care issues. Additionally, he regularly liaises with VA medical leadership and Congressional staff members to ensure Veterans’ receipt and comprehension of the VHA benefits to which they are entitled.

He is currently pursuing his MBA from WBU, and a Project Management Professional certification as well. Away from work, Gary can often be found in pursuit of music, copious quantities of northern Italian cuisine, watching New Orleans Saints and LSU football, and enjoying the liberating escape of his motorcycle.


Health Care Advocacy Department Operations Manager